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Make Forms Easy – Don’t Frustrate People and Drive Them Away

Ever gone to the website of a company you’ve had previous dealings with and requested some product or information only to be confronted with yet another form asking for the same information you’ve already given them? What about an e-commerce site where you lose the order screen somehow and when you get back to it the data you painstakingly entered is lost and you have to start again? Grrrrrrr

Make forms easy – don’t frustrate people and drive them away

form exampleWhen designing forms, we need to minimise ‘friction’ or ‘red tape’ making it no harder than necessary for customers to give us the information we really need, so we don’t put them off.

As we said previously, getting customers to tell us their interests and preferences gives them a sense of power of choice and enables us to target our marketing via our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system.

But once you have the information, don’t ask for it again, e.g. if you send out an email with a link to some new product or information, don’t thrust a form in front of them asking for their email address or other information they’ve already given you!

Pre-populate your forms to make it easy

The answer is to ‘close the information loop’ so that when they arrive at the form, it already has their email address and other relevant data pre-entered so they only have to enter new information. How does this work? Well, Mobilizemail have a system you can use where email links have a customer-specific code embedded in them so when they click through to your landing page, the Web server recognises them and pre-populates the form with relevant information, making it user-friendly for them.

Profit from un-subscribes – they can actually help you!

People un-subscribe from email newsletters for various reasons but sometimes it’s because of disappointment or annoyance over some failure in your services. So you’ve lost a customer – but what’s more, disgruntled customers can often tell a lot more people than a happy one does, so let’s find out the problem before we get disillusioned customers multiplying. They talk about viral marketing that spreads the good word and attracts heaps of business, but it can also work against you, so there’s a lot at stake here.

The answer? Have a user-friendly unsubscribe form asking departing customers to leave you valuable information on why they’re leaving, but don’t force them as this could frustrate them if they’re not already. This tells you about problems you can fix before you lose more customers. Why pay for market research consultants when you can get free marketing intelligence from your customers – absolute gold! Make sure you provide a large text box to make it easy for them to tell you as much as possible, and thank them for it – leaving them with a last impression of a courteous company who cares about their satisfaction. Ever had this kind of positive experience that makes you feel almost sorry to unsubscribe? This leaves the door open to returning later if things change for them.

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